Friday, 28 August 2009
Late on Wednesday afternoon, I heard a gunshot near the front of my property. That was followed, about ten minutes later, by another. Which was followed, in turn, by me thinking 'WTF? I hope they know where their bullets are going'. And before I could finish considering the safety issues associated with firearms in dense forests there was a volley, a fusillade and then a cannonade.
And a tree toppled down across the drive way.
It was an old Queensland maple (Flindersia) that had rotted from the crown. The trunk snapped about three metres above the ground. When it fell, it dragged down vines and pushed over saplings. Chunks of rotten wood flew everywhere. Just like shrapnel. If grenades were the size of 2CVs and made of balsa wood, that is. One big lump held a young elkhorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) and an orchid. I retrieved it and relocated it to the garden. (Where Steptoe the pademelon shredded the plants. We'll sort this out later.)
A neighbour came over this morning with a chainsaw, sliced up the tree and rolled the pieces into the forest. The fungi had broken down the upper section and worked their way through the sapwood, but they looked as though they were lagging the borers on the march into the heartwood. I'll check out the logs at regular intervals and record the natural recycling process. Here are the first photos.